Friday, April 29, 2011

How to change the Xbox 360 controller LEDs

This mod will show how to replace the green LED lights in the Xbox 360 controller.

Things you will need.
soldering iron
*0603 LEDs (4)
**screw driver

*You can get a strip of 50 LEDs from ebay for very cheap.
**You need a T8 with a hole. The screws have center posts, so a regular T8 won't work. You can also use a small flat head and cram it in one of the crevices. I broke some of the center posts off and used a regular T8.

If the LEDs are from ebay, I highly recommend that they be tested before use. They have about a 50% yield. To do this, you will need two AA batteries, two wires, and electrical tape.

Tape one of the wires to the positive end of a AA battery, then attach another wire to the negative end of the other battery. The two ends of the batteries that are not occupied by wires will have to be touching to complete the series.

Here's a pic of my poor mans power supply.

Connect the wires to the LED with respect to polarity, and if it lights up it's good to go. LEDs have a T symbol on the back of them. The side with the top of the T is positive.

Time to take the controller apart.
Take the seven screws out of the back of the controller. The last screw is under a sticker where the batteries go.

Pull the insides out. Be careful of where the buttons are, try to remove the front of the controller with the front facing downwards so all of the buttons stay in.

The best way to take off the LEDs is to add more solder and wipe the LED off with the iron. This is done by feeding some solder to both sides of the LED. I usually move my iron from end to end melting the solder each time and apply a small amount of force to try and wipe away the LED. They will eventually come off. Don't apply too much force because you might rip off the contact pad (very bad!).

Clean off any excess solder.

My controller has this orientation for positive and negatives. I'm not sure if they are all the same. The model number on my controller is 1403.

Place one of the LEDs in the correct orientation on the pads. Since I don't have three hands, you have to solder these on unconventionally. I usually try to melt some solder onto the tip of the iron. Then I hold the LED in place with the tweezers and apply the solder to one side of the LED. I would show a picture, but my camera did not like the closeups D:.

I know applying solder to the iron first is dumb, but I only have so many hands, and it worked for this project.

To test it, put the circuit board back into the bottom of the controller shell. Attach the battery pack, and press the middle of the controller, like you would to turn it on if it did have the button. It should turn the LEDs on. If it doesn't work, try to apply more solder, or unsolder it and flip it around to change polarity.

finished product:

If you managed to rip off a solder pad on the controller, you are not completely out of luck yet. You can take a knife and try to uncover the lead that was attached to the solder pad. This is a very small lead, so take caution. Then try to solder the LED onto this exposed lead with respect to polarity.